CURIOSITY

The Dingo Ate My Baby: Trial by Public Opinion

The Azaria Chamberlain case

Sandi Parsons
Introspection, Exposition
4 min readMar 1, 2021

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Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash

The phrase “The dingo’s got my baby” morphed into the “The dingo ate my baby,” and it rocketed around the world.

The second inquest’s announcement into the death of Azaria Chamberlain occurred as I was starting Year Five. At school, Azaria Chamberlain was a taboo subject. We were supposed to leave the discussion to the adults. Yet for the entire year, as the countdown to the trial approached, we whispered in the playground.

Even in the schoolyard, we held polarised opinions. Many children seemed to be influenced by what their parents said.

Dingos don’t eat babies was a popular saying.

Popular opinion was firmly against Lindy Chamberlain, and the schoolyard tally reflected how most of Australia felt.

When the “trial of the century” saw Lindy Chamberlain convicted of killing her infant daughter, many felt justice had occurred. Her husband, Michael Chamberlain was convicted of being an accessory after the fact.

But I wondered. There was something that didn’t sit right with me. There had been no chatter to influence me at home. Instead, I secretly read the newspapers when I was supposed to take the rubbish out.

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Sandi Parsons
Introspection, Exposition

Sandi Parsons lives & breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller📚 Kidlit specialist, dipping her toes in the big kid’s pool.